Posted on: 9 March 2022
A skin cancer examination should be something that you get at least a few times in your life. A dermatologist can look for moles and other skin lesions that are cancerous and will often remove these spots for biopsies or to eliminate the cancer completely. You should also perform at-home skin cancer checks periodically to look for possible signs of cancer. Here are a few surprising facts about skin cancer that might encourage you to get a skin cancer check.
1. You don't have to be in the sun a lot to get skin cancer.
Many cases of skin cancer are traced to prolonged sun exposure, but skin cancer can occur for other reasons. If you have a family history of any type of cancer, you might be likelier to develop skin cancer at some point in your life. People with a genetic skin condition known as Gorlin syndrome are predisposed to developing a type of skin cancer known as basal cell carcinoma. Your chances of getting skin cancer may also increase if you have a compromised immune system.
2. Skin cancer affects people of all ages.
Skin cancer usually affects people over age 50, but younger people can also get the condition. Avid sunbathers and frequent users of tanning beds are especially vulnerable to skin cancer if the frequent exposure to UV light starts at an early age. Regardless of how old you are currently, your dermatologist should perform periodic skin cancer examinations to look for concerning signs that may indicate malignancy.
3. People of all skin tones are at risk of getting skin cancer.
While it's true that skin cancer tends to affect people with lighter skin tones, darker-toned individuals should also be aware of skin cancer risks. Sun damage can still occur on darker skin tones even though the damage may not be as visible as on fair-skinned individuals. A knowledgeable dermatologist should be able to perform a thorough skin cancer check for a person regardless of their skin tone.
4. Skin cancer doesn't always grow quickly and is sometimes not noticed right away.
Some forms of skin cancer take more time to develop and spread, but the seriousness of skin cancer still shouldn't be ignored. Some skin cancer types take years to develop, and this is often true with the flaky, precancerous lesions known as actinic keratoses. A cancerous mole also may not show obvious changes or other signs right away. During a skin check, the dermatologist can look for any lesions that are in an early cancer stage or may become cancerous eventually and provide the treatments to stop their spread.
If you want to prevent skin cancer or stop cancer from spreading while it's still in an early stage, you shouldn't hesitate to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist who can examine your skin with a detailed eye.
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